Keeping Your System Safe and Secure
Whether you’re taking your laptop with you so you can work on the Great American Novel or the next Big Deal, the information it contains could be as valuable to somebody else as it is to you – or your employer.
If your laptop has built-in biometrics security (such as a fingertip reader), set it up.
For additional protection (or if you don’t have onboard biometrics), consider full-disk encryption.
If you’re running Windows 7 Ultimate (or Windows Vista Ultimate), you can use its integrated BitLocker full-disk encryption to protect your information. However, if you’re running other versions of Windows or other operating systems, there are a number of third-party full-disk encryption solutions you can use, including TrueCrypt (supports Windows 7/Vista/XP, MacOS, Linux: free and open source), SafeHouse (supports Windows 7/Vista/XP; free version available); CheckPoint Full Disk Encryption (supports Windows 7/Vista/XP, MacOS, Linux; designed for corporate use) among others.
Laptop Alarms and “Phone Home” Software
If you use a laptop in a public place, some members of the public might want to take it away from you. To stop them, you can take any (or all) of these approaches: use a laptop bag alarm (effective when you’re not using your laptop), a security cable (effective when you’re working somewhere for awhile, or security software.
The low-cost Laptop Alarm software from Syfer sounds an alarm if the mouse is disconnected, the AC power cord is unplugged, or if the laptop is shut down. The LAlarm program (free for personal use) includes a wide range of security alarms and events you can configure, including alarm transmissions to your mobile phone via email or SMS or optional data destruction in case a laptop is stolen. LoJack for Laptops provides a “phone home” capability to help recover a stolen laptop.